Its official, we are the new owners of an 1880′s fixer in the Mission District. A long process lies ahead, with minor changes and renovations in every room, and no doubt some surprises too. Still, as crazy as I am sure it will be, I am so very excited.
We continue our life as a family of three, soon to be four, in our little one bedroom apartment just a few blocks away. We have some time ahead to design, plan and permit, so nothing concrete is happening yet. In our quiet moments, we slowly build our pinboards and ideabooks, and dream about the rest of our lives in this beautiful house.
Third Nature Studio and graphic designer & landscape architect Leah Elamin are assisting Peter Richards with a wave organ project for the City of Marseille. As an artist in residence at San Francisco’s Exploratorium, Richards created a Wave Organ in the San Francisco Bay 1986.
The Marseille wave organ is inspired by the graceful form of a fish, with undulating, silvery, expanded metal mesh decking that is hidden and revealed by the changes in the tides. The organ pipes turn the form into a piece of habitable, sonic sculpture.
Marseille is undergoing extensive renovation along its central harbor or Vieux Port, including a new Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilizations just opposite the site of the organ at Fort Saint Jean.
I am prone to think of the Norwegian landscape as a place rich in folklore and fairy tales. As a child, I associated much of what I saw and experienced in Norwegian forests with my favorite books, and most of my memories and familiarity with Norway are those of a child visiting her grandparents. Mossy, lichen covered rocks, clearings full of wild blue berries, long cross country ski trips to frozen lakes make all of that magic just feel right.
Eriksen Skajaa Architects, PUSHAK Architects and Bjørbekk & Lindheim Landscape Architects recently won a competition to design a Gateway for Sjunkhatten National Park near Bodø, Norway. The project, titled Saivu, draws its formal vocabulary from the Sami language, nomadic building, and the romance of folklore and fairytale.
It has been difficult for me to reconcile the idyllic Norway in my head with the reality of a complex, contemporary society, and the surreality of recent events. This project is a thoughtful celebration of the Norwegian landscape, and I smile when I think about the wonder and delight a project like this can inspire.
With a one-year-old daughter, I think about geometry more than usual, along with the other essentials – language, music, numbers, etc. She seems naturally drawn to everyday patterns like these and absorbs them effortlessly. You can practically hear the synapses crackle as it happens.
I recently discovered the work of Anne Tyng, San Francisco-based architect, who developed a means of spatial exploration using some of the most elemental structures known, the Platonic solids. Although the study of advanced geometry and its application to design is nothing new, Tyng set a clear precedent more than fifty years ago for the current crop of artists and architects working along similar lines.
“…geometry is both rational and expressive, as much a means of contemplation as of calculation and construction.”
Let’s hope she’s working on a line of toddler bedroom furniture.
The American Society of Landscape Architects announced its 2011 Award winners this week. I was thrilled to see the UC Berkeley program well represented in the student awards category. Several honors were given to students I was and am lucky enough to have working with me in my studios as Graduate Student Instructors. Congratulations to Darryl, Cat, Rob & all of your collaborators.
As always, I poured over the residential projects looking for something noteworthy. I love this little garden from the Carnegie Hill House in New York designed by Nelson Byrd Woltz. The placement of the ginkgo row at the entry of the garden rather than the perimeter creates a beautiful screen and threshold to what looks like an incredibly rich landscape. Nicely done.
I love this photo from the old Brody House in LA. The interplay of the Matisse mural and the dappled light of the tree is absolutely amazing to me. LACMA’s got the mural now, but I am going to imagine that it’s 1954 and I’m having a cocktail riiight here.
I have been doing a handful of quick projects for friends this summer, and the following drawings are for a residence in Bernal Heights, San Francisco. The client has a huge expanse of brick that I am proposing they cut back and re-edge to help define the central patio space. Their house is a charming former storefront with an amazing lookout tower, and I have suggested the introduce a strong single curve to play off of the mass of the architecture, and bring in mixed tropical & mediterranean style plantings to add some lushness. In addition, stepped landings, rectilinear stepping stones, and vertical lath screening and fencing will provide some visual richness, and a new modestly sized lawn will give their family an outdoor surface for play and relaxation.
I am putting together a masterplan and design recommendations for my family’s property on Puget Sound, in Port Orchard, Washington. And as I work, I realize that there is no project that will come as close to my heart as this one.
My grandparents retired here from Seattle thirty years ago, and divided the property into four lots in order to give parcels to each of their three daughters. My grandmother lives here still, and my parents live in a house next door that our family designed and built in the early 90′s.
Both of my grandparents were master gardeners: my grandfather’s plant notebooks, garden plans and love of this place are what inspired me to pursue landscape architecture. My parents and aunts also love gardening and design, making it a joy to begin to imagine some subtle changes that will provide a framework for the love and care that will continue to be poured into the land.
We’ve commissioned a survey, and with the drawings I produce, we hope to preserve and enhance what my grandparents imagined for their children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren Freya, Felix, Sasha and Ovidia.
I just got these in progress photos from my design collaborator Nicole Kelly, and her husband, photographer Drew Kelly. Nicole and I completed work on the main house at Templeton Ridge Winery and Burbank Vineyards quite awhile ago, and after becoming parents, trips south to beautiful SLO county are unfortunately few and far between. I cant wait to go back and see how the plants are doing!